Short answer: We offer a few different ways to study a language.
1) Specialise in languages
The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Languages) allows you to major in at least two languages and gain multilingual translation and high-level intercultural skills. You’ll also benefit from a $5,000 scholarship to fund one semester of full-time study of a language major at an overseas university.
In the final year, you’ll get the opportunity to gain professional experience and work on a real-world project with an industry partner.
2) Major in one or more languages
You can major in up to two languages as part of the standalone Bachelor of Arts (or major in one language in most of our other undergraduate degrees!). All of our language offerings are part of the University’s shared pool of majors and minors.
3) Study language alongside an undergraduate degree, or after you graduate
If you don't have room in your degree, our Diploma of Language Studies offers a flexible pathway to study a languages (and culture units) alongside your degree or after you've completed your undergraduate studies. Watch our webinar to learn more and hear from our recent graduates.
Short answer: Absolutely.
Our language units are part of the University’s shared pool of majors and minors. Which means you can take elective language units even if you're studying Commerce or Science or Architecture - pretty much any of our undergraduate degrees.
Short answer: It depends on your current proficiency level – we’ll meet you wherever you’re at.
Introductory: Start from beginner level.
Intermediate: You have some experience or heritage background in the language, and you'd like to develop your skills. (eg. 70+ for HSC Beginners or <80 for HSC Continuers).
Advanced: You have native or near-native fluency. You're ready to continue mastering the language like a pro. (eg. background speakers, 80+ for HSC Continuers, or post-HSC Continuers, Extension).
If you’re still unsure which level suits you best, you can reach out to the School of Languages and Cultures our language departments for a language-level assessment or one-on-one interview prior to commencement.
Short answer: We offer 15 different language areas. Click the headings below for more info.
Ancient Greek allows you to read original works of immense cultural and literary significance by the great writers of the ancient Mediterranean world. The study of philosophy, history, drama, lyric, epic, the novel, and oratory begins in Greece. The Greek contributions to world literature are undisputed models of perfection in every later age.
Arabic is the fifth most widely spoken language in the world. It is one of the official languages of the United Nations and the religious language of 1.5 billion Muslims, as well as millions of Christians and Jewish people. Political and economic developments in the Arab world and parts of the Middle East have made understanding, speaking, reading and writing Arabic an increasingly valuable skill.
Biblical Studies and Classical Hebrew will allow you to explore some of the foundational texts and histories of Western civilisation. Encountering the Bible in translation or learning to read these texts in Hebrew, you will consider the themes and message of the biblical books, experiment with new approaches to texts and ideas and challenge common assumptions.
Chinese Studies delivers a solid understanding of Chinese society and culture and the foundational language skills essential to function with confidence in the Chinese-speaking world. Studies in this area have exchange and summer study opportunities, including with Peking University.
Experience the rich history and cultural diversity of the official language of 29 countries (la Francophonie), spoken by more than 300 million people worldwide.
Study both the German language and culture, including literature, film, history and society. Through exchange programs in Berlin, Vienna, Munich, Cologne, Freiburg and Constance, you will experience exciting opportunities to enhance your language proficiency and deepen your understanding of German culture.
Hebrew (Modern) covers listening, speaking, reading, writing and cultural awareness. You will develop and expand your proficiency in these five language and cultural skills with the opportunity to complete some of your studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
A complex and exciting country, Indonesia is very close to Australia yet also very different in many ways. Drawing on our extensive links in Indonesia and with the Indonesian community in Australia, you can experience a highly integrated and contemporary subject area covering history, politics, geography, anthropology, language and culture.
Select from a wide range of language and culture units from one of the largest Italian Studies centres in Australia and undertake a semester with one of our Italian partner universities. Develop high levels of linguistic aptitude and deep understanding of Italian authors, thinkers and literary and intellectual movements from the Middle Ages to the present.
One of the oldest subject areas of its kind in the English-speaking world, Japanese Studies offers consideration of a rich history and culture, as well as a rewarding language experience. Undertake an in-country exchange with our large network of partner universities in Japan and prepare for employment in education, government, media, international relations and the private sector.
Korea is a dynamic nation at the epicentre of Northeast Asia. Korean Studies provides a broad foundation in Korean language as well as history, linguistics, culture and society and media and communication. Equip yourself with crucial language skills and an in-depth knowledge of this intriguing nation.
You will learn to read works of immense cultural and literary significance by the iconic writers of ancient Rome. Latin is the direct ancestor of nearly 50 modern languages and a major contributor to the vocabulary of many others, including English. It was also the language of European literature, history, science, medicine, diplomacy and law for nearly 2000 years. Studying Latin opens up intellectual vistas vital for exploring the past or navigating the present.
Study one of the oldest languages and cultures in Australia’s largest department of Modern Greek and Byzantine Studies centre. Select from a range of language and culture units, undertake an intensive in-country experience and prepare for employment in education, translation and interpreting, media, government and the private sector.
Through the study of Sanskrit language, the most important classical language of the Indian subcontinent, you can explore the various intellectual, literary and artistic traditions that have shaped South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan), Central Asia, Southeast Asia and Tibet and played a profound role in forming Asia as a whole.
Spanish is the official language of 21 countries and is spoken by more than 400 million people. Studying Spanish will equip you with a deep knowledge of the language and offer you the tools to examine and understand politics, society and culture in the Spanish-speaking world.
Short answer: Yes! We strongly encourage students to go on exchange and in-country programs.
Immersing yourself in languages and cultures first-hand will significantly enhance your learning. The University of Sydney is home to Australia’s largest student mobility program with over 250 partner institutions worldwide, offering you plenty of options for in-country study, ranging from short-term to semester-length – or even longer.
If it’s short term programs you’re after, try our Open Learning Environment (OLE) intensive in-country units which allow you to earn six credit points toward you degree for 2-3 weeks of cultural immersion and language learning.
If you’re keen to try a full semester, we have a suite of travel scholarships to support your study abroad endeavours.
Short answer: Yes. The degree is endorsed by the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters (NAATI) as a pathway to becoming a certified translator.
After graduating from a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies, you can take a NAATI certification test depending on your level of language proficiency. If you’re interested in becoming a certified interpreter, you can pursue further studies such as accredited interpreting courses.
Short answer: Language grads have a distinct edge in the job market. Multilingual and cross-cultural skills open up many doors – both in Australia and around the world.
You'll be prepared for a wide range of careers in translation, international organisations, public policy, foreign affairs, NGOs, teaching and media outlets.
Beyond advanced communication skills, you'll develop cultural literacy which is an increasingly essential tool for addressing local and global challenges. Wherever you end up working, you'll bring these sought-after capabilities to your role.